Eliminate Negative Self-Talk
By Rick Warren
— May 21, 2014
“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 GN).
Long before psychology came around, God said your thoughts determine your feelings and your feelings determine your actions. If you want to change your life, you've got to control the way you think.
Our minds are really an amazing creation. It would take a computer the size of a small city just to carry out the basic functions of your brain. Your brain contains over one hundred billion nerve cells. Each individual cell is connected with ten thousand other neurons.
In addition, you’re constantly talking to yourself—all the time
. Your mind is talking to you! You're talking to yourself right now. Research indicates that most people speak at a rate of 150 to 200 words per minute, but the mind can listen to about 500-600 words a minute. That's why you can listen to me and plan today's dinner at the same time.
In fact, our internal dialogue—the conversation we have with ourselves—is at a rate of 1,300 words per minute. How? Because our mind sees in pictures, and you can see a thought in a nano-second!
The problem is a lot of us are like Job, who says, “Everything I say seems to condemn me” (Job 9:20 GN). He's saying, in effect, “Everything I say puts me down.” If you are typical to the human race, you are your own worst critic.
We’re always putting ourselves down. We walk into a room smiling, but inside we're thinking, “I’m fat. I’m dumb. I’m ugly. And I'm always late!”
God wants us to stop putting ourselves down. When you put yourself down, who are you really putting down? When you say, “I’m fat. I’m dumb. I'm ugly. I'm no good. I have no talent,” you’re really pointing to the Creator who made you. When you say, “God, I'm worthless. I'm no good. I can't do anything,” you're saying, “God, you blew it with me.” That's why God says it's wrong to put yourself down.
How do you eliminate negative self-talk so you can become a more confident person?
The Bible teaches the principle of replacement:
“Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right . . . Think about all you can thank God for and be glad about" (Philippians 4:8 TLB).
In other words, don’t think about all those weaknesses in your life. Focus on who God wants you want to be and on what God wants to do in your life. I don't know any better antidote to low self-esteem (or to facing your hurts, habits, and hang-ups) than to read God's word every day: study it, memorize it, meditate on it, and apply it in your life.
There isn’t a better thing you can do to raise your confidence level than to start believing what God says about you. As I read through the Bible, chapter by chapter, I find a verse that speaks to me. I write it down on a card, memorize it, and then I start affirming it back to God. “Father, thank you that I am valuable; I am significant; I am forgivable; I am capable." Let God renew your mind because “your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 GN).